Welcome to our ranch near Canada's west coast in Beautiful British Columbia's West Chilcotin mountain region. Where calling the vet means hollering back at the house to bring your kit, new friendships are formed from the back of a horse and true fun for a five year old is getting a machete for Christmas. Where 'cutting the dinks off' has a totally different meaning than what first comes to mind, Muck Boots are a household name, a hand shake still means something and the coffee is always on.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Rounding Up and Shipping Out

Well, following our odd (and nasty) rainy summer, it's been a pretty warm and decent fall.  Not dry mind you....but decent.  It still looks like 'spring runoff' around here, but maybe we are just getting used to it.  As Eli said....if this was June, we would be proud of our irrigating job......  Sure makes a person wonder what winter will bring....and where the run off will go when spring does come next year.  Certainly every swamp, hole and low spot (not to mention the creeks) are already overflowing.  

Ah, but you've heard me whine and grump about it enough....I'm sure you get the picture.  

So, as I was saying, it's been a decent fall.  The cows have been reasonably cooperative to find and bring home.   I have to say that they have chosen strangely wet places to camp though.  We spend literally days trying to get a small group out of a amazingly nasty swamp.  That's the kinda place that gives Anahim Lake it's boggy reputation.  Usually you can at least get to the edge on horseback, but surely not even close this year.  It is deceptively flat and innocent looking, but actually a very dangerous piece of ground.  You might get a horse part way across, but the chances of him ever making it home again are next to nothing.  In this kind of area, the ground can give way and never really let them get back up again, and they would finally give up from exhaustion.  Even the cows had trouble (so why were they there, I ask.....there is huge amounts of feed everywhere!)  Generally cows, under their own power and their own intention, can pretty much walk on water.  And they had to, to get out of here.  It took three tries....and none of them were fun for the humans or horses.  

Looks nice out there doesn't it?  It's not.  Previously unnamed, it is now know as "The Walking Swamp"....  

Bree keeps a close eye out as we move stock down towards Four Mile.  Calves are looking great!  

Happy cows with the Ilgatchuz in the background.

Early morning visitor.

Our round up went pretty well over all.  I think the hardest part was taking them from Four Mile meadow (where we moved them in to as we found them) to the Six Mile ranch site (where we sorted and shipped out of.)  Good grief, they fought us the entire way.  Luckily, besides our usual crew, we had some experienced help, with two Aussies (Paul and Jess) and Rob from New Zealand.  We have a young man from France at the moment, doing a help exchange and I'm quite sure he learned some English terms he never knew existed, or wanted to know.....  We laughed afterwards that "chasing cows is nothing like you see in the movies!"  Days like these I really do appreciate those two mutts of mine.....they both deserve a day off, even if they don't want one!  
Cold day trekking the swamps...we all enjoyed a break and a hot fire to warm up!

Before the sun came up the next morning, we were all out in the pens, ready to start sorting.  First, we sort the calves from the cows.  That is relatively quick and easy.  Next we sort the heifer calves from the steers.  As you can imagine, that takes quite a bit longer.  And then from there, they are sorted again, taking the smaller ones out, or any that might be lame or in poor condition for any reason.  We also keep the biggest and best heifer calves back at the ranch, as replacements.  By then the big trucks are waiting in the drive way.  Eli and I mark our calves (with a small card stuck on to their back with glue), numbers are carefully kept track of, and the trucks get loaded.  It's a busy morning......  

 The truck driver, Shane, our young friend Rachel and Paul the Aussie loading calves.  

And they looked good!  The stockyards crew were happy with our tagging and sorting, the buyers were happy with the condition of the cattle and we were happy at their increased weights.  All good.  Of course the market was down, especially from last year, but that's just part of the game.  It's all about the lifestyle right?  Not the paycheck.  Must remember to tell Farm Credit that....  Nah, we did well.  Even though they were not our best heifers, many of ours at the sale were bought as replacements for other ranchers, so that's always a compliment.  We were happy to have sold the steers a couple of weeks ago, when the market was stronger.  (We sell via a video at the stockyards.  The buyers bid as if they were in the ring, but with the knowledge of a specific delivery date instead.)  

These are not our calves, but the view from where I'm sitting, waiting for ours to come in to the ring.  I'm too busy staring and counting and recording and listening to the auctioneer when our comes through.  Tough to take photos with all your fingers and toes crossed!  

And back out they go!  Here mum is moving the young cows to the bottom end of our Five Mile hay meadow, sans calves....

So now we are back from the sale and continuing to sort and organize the cattle as to the best places for them to be.  We always sort off our younger animals and have them in the best feed, and close enough to keep a very good eye on.  The older cows look outstanding (they all do) and are headed back to range as well.  Some will be shipped to market for age, attitude or lack of milk etc.  It's a never ending cycle.  It does always seem funny to me that we chase them back out only days after we are trying frantically to find those last few and bring everything in.  This will be the last week or so of consistent riding, which is a bit sad really.  But not gonna lie, I'm looking forward to a bit of a break too.... Although always always busy with something (fencing and necessary renovations!), we are coming up to our 'slower' time of year.....hurrah!  

Cheers folks, and all the best,



1 comment:

Jim Reusser said...

I like your "early morning visitor"- the northern hawk owl- we very rarely have those coming down to Washington state, sometimes in the winter. My wife and I enjoyed our caribou hunt with you folks in 2005- perhaps some day we will come back. Jim Reusser